Sports

Argentines pay 50% interest to see Messi in the World Cup

Argentine‘s passion for football is known. It is so big that a bank believes that at least some of them are willing to get a 50% interest loan to travel to Russia to see their national team at this year’s World Cup.

BBVA Franco Frances SA, the local unit of the Spanish bank, is calling on Argentine television ads to support Lionel Messi and his teammates by taking a seven-year loan. The bank offers 1 million pesos (approximately 34,000 euros), which are repaid in 84 installments.

The 50% annual interest on the loan may seem madly high even to the most fanatical believers of the round goddess. But with Argentine inflation running at 25% and the Central Bank rising its base rate to 40%, BBVA’s offer seems less crazy. High inflation “pushes” individuals to borrow and repay their debts later when money is cheaper. BBVA Frances‘ private loan portfolio grew by 80.5% in the first quarter compared to a year ago as the Argentines are rushing to get consumer and mortgage loans.

50% interest rates may seem crazy for someone not living in Argentina but the country’s residents have become experts in inflation,” said Juan Alonso, an analyst covering BBVA. “The Argentine does not look at interest rates, they simply ask for the amount of monthly installment they will have to pay. If they have the option to repay a seven-year trip to the World Cup, they will get it, “he adds.

A bank spokesman declined to comment on interest rates or how much interest they had on the loan. It is estimated that BBVA has borrowed about 1.2 billion pesos since it started lending last August.

Albisse, as the Argentine National Team because of its colors, is a favorite for this year’s World Cup and of course has always had a passionate audience. The Argentines have already bought 52,999 tickets for the World Cup according to FIFA.

Already Argentine fans are preparing for the first match against Iceland on 16 June in Moscow. “The World Cup is a religious experience,” said Marcello Bertolino who traveled to Brazil in 2014 and will now go with his son to Russia. “This time travel is more expensive because of the weak peso and distance but still the trip is worth it.”